We need to participate as voters

With everything going on in our nation, it’s easy to forget our immediate surroundings.

Our nation is, however, built upon the brick and mortar, ideas and participation, of our local communities. It is to the latter, that of participation, we should turn our attention and reflect upon.

Democracy is not an easy system. It demands the best of us amid emotional turmoil, raised voices and busy lives. To be done well, democracy requires engagement even when we don’t feel that our voices are heard. It is based on principled behavior, not emotive reactions when triggered. Precisely because of that, non-participation often feels more legitimate as it delivers an immediate emotional response.

You have to wait to see whether the fruit of your research and hope placed in your selected candidate will pay off. Not so for refusing to vote. Not voting is the adult equivalent of a child’s temper tantrum: feels good based on a false sense of empowerment and has immediate rewards. With smug self-assurance you can look at everyone around you and declare yourself having “taken a stand,” even as doing so is cutting the legs off the very system that gives you the right to act in a puerile manner.

The recent primary election saw Kent voter turnout at 25.31 percent. Literally three-fourths of Kent’s registered participants in democracy abstained from doing their role as citizens. Inevitable is the venting, complaining and belly-aching that followed immediately and will continue through the election next fall.

However, if you want a better system, it means first participating in one that isn’t as good. Children rant about not having their cake and eating it too. Adults prepare themselves for the work ahead.

As Jim Wright of Stonekettle Station notes: “If you want a better nation, be better citizens.” What’s true for the nation is true for the cities upon which it’s built.

– David Teachout

More in Letters to the Editor

End to DACA would be devastating

In just two months President Trump’s decision to end the DACA program… Continue reading

All lit up

While driving around the Kent area it is enjoyable to see how… Continue reading

Money well spent for a safe piece of a curb

On June 2, I sent out an email to the Kent Mayor… Continue reading

Some regulations worth keeping

A constant refrain bleated from Republicans has been ”excessive government regulation” of… Continue reading

State way behind in financing our students’ futures

Columnist Jerry Cornfield asserts that “the economy generates billions of extra dollars… Continue reading

Dreaming of a white Christmas

The weather outside may not be frightful, but it is still the… Continue reading

Big bill, little return

I just got a bill on my car license tabs. What a… Continue reading

More apartments, more burden

More new apartment developments are being granted property tax waivers lasting eight… Continue reading

Put the $3 million elsewhere

After reading the article about spending $3 million to make downtown Kent… Continue reading

Economic collapse: remember ‘08?

Even if you do remember 1993 (“About our business climate today? Remember… Continue reading

17, and eager to vote

The voting age should be dropped from 18 years old to 17… Continue reading

A right to arm, protect, defend

A gunman recently entered a Texas church and killed numerous helpless people… Continue reading